Once Upon an Atom
James Carter, illustrated by William Santiago
James Carter successfully wears several hats: he’s a much loved, award-winning poet, a musician and a non-fiction writer; how he manages to fit in all his performances at schools and festivals too, is pretty amazing.
In this latest book, James fuses his poetry and non-fiction writing, this time to explore some of the really BIG questions that fascinate both children and adults alike; and they’re all of a scientific nature.
Starting with a mention of the Big Bang and tiny atoms, the poet wonders, ‘WHY do leaves turn red and gold? / WHY do fireworks explode. // WHAT are whizzes, bangs expansions? / They’re all CHEMICAL REACTIONS!’
That assertion certainly makes chemistry begin to sound exciting.
Next on the scientific agenda are electricity, followed by gravity,
both aspects of physics – for as we hear, ‘We live on one great universe / and PHYSICS tells us how that works.’
Evolution, medicine come next, followed by my favourite of the sciences – botany, all of which are aspects of BIOLOGY.
The final stanzas talk of the work of scientists, their experimenting and inventing, ending with the exciting thoughts: ‘Now WHO knows what / the FUTURE is? // Find out … / become a SCIENTIST!’ Now there’s a possibility.
On the last spread is one of James’ acrostics entitled It’s all a question of SCIENCE.
A fizzingly, zinging addition to James’ non-fiction poetry series, this one is a clever fusion of playful entertainment and STEM information. With each spread being embellished with William Santiago’s arresting, zippy art, the book becomes a STEAM title that is great to share in the classroom or at home.